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Anterior lumbar fusion of L5-S1

Started by Eliza on 07/17/2016 7:45pm

Hi all,

This is my first time on any discussion board but wanted to see if anyone had a similar surgery as the one I am anticipating in the next month. As a healthcare professional, I injured my back while lifting a very heavy patients and sustained two Annular tears to L4-L5 and L5-S1. My MRI showed moderate de generative disc disease with narrowing space at the L5-S1 level, spondylosis and nerve entrapment. I have had two epidurals and one facet injection with no relief and tried some physical therapy early on that just aggravated my symptoms which included severe lower back pain with numbness , weakness and tingling into my lower extremities. My second MRI showed progressive deterioration and entrapment of the root nerves and basically bone on bone with the L5 S1 vertebrae . I have been in severe pain for almost 15 months since my injury and am hoping that the anterior lumbar Fusion Will get me back on track again and able to work and do the activities I was able to do prior my injury . Any words of wisdom and encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

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Hopefully your procedure goes well. I had a L5 S1 fusion done with all the hardware in April of 2016. Unfortunately for me, the surgeon did not clear the sciatic nerve path for the right leg well enough. Post op I was fine in bed. Once I tried to stand up and walk, I realized quickly I couldn't put any weight on my right leg without extreme pain. A week later, the surgeon had me back in surgery to free up the sciatic nerve from being pinched when standing. This led to neuropathy in my right leg/foot. Holy crap is all I can say. Achiness, burning, sharp pain and numbness - especially in my right foot. Couldn't sleep more than 3 hours at time for 2 1/2 months before being woken up by my foot and then scrambling for oxycodone pills, which only take the edge off for an hour. Long story short, Dr said the sciatic nerve was inflamed from being pinched and it takes time to calm down. How long? well I was told it varies anywhere from weeks to months. I am now 4 months post op and still have numbness in my foot (big toe area). The only thing I found that helped me was acupuncture - believe it or not. I never tried this before and a friend said I should give it a try. I was ready to try anything or I figured I would be going to rehab with those evil pills!! After a week of acupuncture, I was able to finally sleep through the night and the pain symptoms dropped by more than half immediately and as time went by pain subsided more. I stopped the acupuncture about 3 weeks ago to see if the nerve had calmed down or if it was the treatments that were managing the pain. After about a week, numbness came back in my right big toe area, so there is no doubt that the acupuncture was working. I can deal with the numbness and am just hoping that it clears out soon. I never had any sciatic issues before surgery and boy do I have a new respect for the sciatic nerve - it is no joke. Oh just a note - alcohol will only increase the pain effects with the sciatic nerve. I put a good buzz to see if that would help sleep and after 2 hours I woke up whimpering like a little kid. I tried it again a week later just to see if it wasn't the alcohol - no luck - didn't touch a beer for next 3 months. Overall, the back seems good, but I just had bad luck with the sciatic nerve. On a good note, a friend of mine had this same surgery recently and he was back to work in the office 2 weeks after surgery. He only has the normal post surgery aches and pains. He didn't even use all the pills they gave him (I will let you guess where the rest of them went!!!) Hope this gives you or others a little insight. My best advice to help manage any pain that lingers on and pills don't seem to help (or you just don't want to take any more) - try acupuncture. I sure wish I tried that acupuncture thing earlier - it really does work